Managing your time is a skill all Virtual Assistants should excel at.
So why is it that many of us are running round like headless chickens half the time?
Outwardly we project the appearance of calm, control and professionalism. Inwardly, we’re a crazy mass of information, deadlines and email overload.
And whilst managing your time effectively isn’t rocket science, many of us seem to be good at failing it.
With this in mind, here are the top 5 time management mistakes you’re probably making that should be avoided at all cost:
1. Controlling everything
High standards are part and parcel of a VA’s life. We need to make sure every task we do is completed with the care and attention our clients deserve.
But that doesn’t mean doing everything yourself, or saying yes to everything that comes your way.
Two things to consider here:
a) Delegate. If you want to take on the work, but realistically don’t have the time to complete the task within the deadline set, outsource it.
Find one or two Associates you can trust to do a good job and who you can rely on, then outsource any ‘extra’ tasks that come your way.
Just don’t forget to quality check them before sending on to the client – unless you’ve worked with that Associate for a long time and know they have the same high standards as you do.
b) Say “No”. You don’t have to take on every task that a client may throw at you.
Learn to say “no” in a polite yet firm voice and not only will you position yourself as a good time manager, but as a strong leader as well.
Unless you’re on a retainer, you are in complete control of your time (and even if you are, you can lay down thorough ground rules in your contract). So if a client has a last-minute task that you realistically can’t fit it into your schedule, push it back.
It’ll help them manage their time more effectively, and help keep your stress levels below the red!
2. Being ‘busy’
There’s a world of difference to being ‘busy’ and being ‘productive’.
Just because you haven’t stopped for the last eight hours, doesn’t mean you’ve ticked a lot off the list.
Take a look at when you started work and when you finished. Then take a look at what items you ticked of your ‘to-do’ list. Then look at how much billable time you racked up for that day.
Do they correlate? Or have you actually been busy doing not-a-lot-of effective work?
Start taking note of this regularly and you’ll soon ditch the busy-ness persona for a more productive one.
3. Too many distractions
Email. Social media. Phone calls. WhatsApp messages. Pets. Kids. Postman. Chocolate…
All are distractions that take you away from the task at hand.
Turn them off. Every. Single. One. When knuckling down into a specific task.
Not only will you be more focused, so probably do a better job, you’ll get it done in half the time too – allowing you to crack on with the next one, or if you’re lucky, finish work early and spend quality time with your family, friends or yourself!
Multi-tasking is not a skill to be proud of – not when it comes to work anyway.
All multi-tasking means, is that you do half a job on every job. Those high standards we all strive for can never be met when trying to do five things at once.
So stop it. NOW!
Create a list of priorities at the end of each day for the day ahead (doing it at the end of the day means you’re prepared. And being prepared allows you to enjoy your evening without worrying about what’s coming up) then when you start work, do one task at a time.
Turn off all distractions (see point above) and focus. Once completed, tick it of the list and move on to the next one.
Single-tasking. It’s the new multi-tasking!
You know that horrible task you’ve been dreading since it popped in to your inbox? Yes, that one. The one you’ve been putting off until the last minute, when you can’t put it off any longer without risking the client relationship.
Know what that is? Yep, procrastination.
But the problem with procrastination, is you’ll end up doing the task at the last minute, so inevitably the standard of work will be jeopardised.
Instead tackle it head on. As soon as you can on receiving the brief.
Not only will this reduce your stress levels, it will result in a higher quality of work and an even better client relationship.
So there you have the top 5 VA time management mistakes to avoid.
How many are you guilty of?